BP Cuts Russia, Turkmenistan Natural Gas Reserves Estimates

LONDON - BP PLC revised down its estimates for proved reserves of natural gas in countries in the former Soviet Union by almost a third as it brought the numbers in line with Western accounting standards on reserves, BP Chief Economist Christof Ruehl said Wednesday.

Russia's gas reserves were revised down to 32.9 trillion cubic meters at the end of 2012 versus an unrevised number of 44.6 tcm at the end of 2011 in last year's report. Turkmenistan was revised down to 17.5 tcm from 24.3 tcm, and Kazakhstan was revised to 1.3 tcm from 1.9 tcm.

"The former Soviet republics had a different accounting system for proven reserves and what we did was convert all their numbers to the Western accounting system in one fell swoop and that's why there are changes," said Mr. Ruehl.

BP defines proved reserves as those that are technically and economically recoverable. In the former Soviet republics, the concept for proved reserves is similar to what is defined as technically recoverable, Mr. Ruehl said.

In its annual statistical review, which looks back at the previous year, BP said global proved gas reserves were 187.3 tcm at the end of 2012 compared with 208.4 tcm reported in the previous year's review.

The downward revision to the proved gas reserves of former Soviet republics leaves Iran at the top, with the largest proved gas reserves of 33.6 tcm.

Proved gas reserves in the U.S. at the end of 2012 were 8.5 tcm, around 3% lower than a revised figure for the previous year as the drop in gas prices due to the shale gas production boom made some resources uneconomic to develop. This was reflected in the big writedowns of U.S. natural gas assets made by several major oil companies over the past year.

However, the review showed that U.S. oil production experienced its largest single-year increase ever recorded, due to exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons such as tight oil.

U.S. oil production, which includes crude, shale oil, oil sands and natural-gas-to-liquids, was 8.905 million barrels a day in 2010, the report said.

"The big phenomenon remains the American shale revolution, which led to another record-breaking year. For oil, the U.S. saw the largest increase ever. The growth in U.S. output was a major factor in keeping oil prices from rising sharply, despite a second consecutive year of large oil supply disruptions," said BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley.


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